I recently read an Alton Brown tweet that struck a chord with me.
Culinary truth: Nothing tastes better than a meal made by someone who loves you.
I agree completely with this sentiment and have a thought to follow it.
There’s no cooking better than when you’re cooking for someone you love.
I have written about this many times in these posts, but it’s true. I love cooking and baking. I enjoy spending countless hours dreaming up new dishes- the ingredients, the method of cooking, the style of presentation. However, even more than that, I love doing all of those things when I am making that dish for someone I love. Food is one of the ways I show my love for others.
Many of the recipes I create are inspired by someone else. Whether it be a new dessert for a friend’s birthday, a cookie recipe for one of my kids, or a tapas dish for my husband, other people and their likes are a frequent, driving force in the creation of my recipes.
Doesn’t this picture shout LOVE?
This week’s recipe is no different. As I was working on my recipe themes for the beginning of this year, it occurred to me that I hadn’t planned on any Valentine-themed recipes this year. Rather than edit or rearrange my calendar, I decided to spent a few weeks after Valentine’s Day with a series of dishes for my husband. Not only to celebrate the holiday of love but to prepare for his big 50 in March.
Thus, I started with a grain he enjoys (polenta), topped it with what may be his favorite ingredient (bacon), and add cheese for all sorts of gooey-ness and flavor. That brings us to today’s recipe.
Key things to know
This recipe requires a little bit of time so that the polenta can cool, but if you’re making food for someone you love (or yourself for that matter), it’s worth a little extra time, right?
As to the ingredients, if you can’t find polenta at the grocery store, you can buy medium or coarse cornmeal, as they are pretty much the same thing. I recommend thick cut bacon for this recipe, as it’s my husband’s preferred style. If you would rather use regular cut bacon, that’s fine as well. Finally, the drizzle of honey truly is a matter of personal preference. Although I usually like to finish a salty dish with a bit of sweet, I found them quite pleasant without the honey. My husband, on the other hand, preferred the cups with the honey. You’re eating it; you get to choose.
If you want another appetizer recipe that features bacon in a cup/muffin format, give these Lavash Tarts Filled with Caramelized Onion and Crunchy Bacon a try.
Polenta Cups Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Bacon
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup polenta or medium/coarse cornmeal
- 1/2 pound thick cut bacon
- 2 ounces blue cheese
Grease 12 muffin cups with butter.
Combine water and salt in a small saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil.
Slowly add polenta, whisking constantly.
Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently.
Cook until polenta thickens, about 35 minutes. (Should be stiff and harder to stir.)
Divide polenta among muffin cups.
Smooth polenta with the back of a spoon, and then make an indentation in the center of each cup.
Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour.
Remove polenta cups from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Cook bacon using your preferred method until crispy; drain on paper towel-lined plate.
Cool, and dice bacon.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put 2 teaspoons of blue cheese in each polenta cup; gently press into centers.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove cups from pan, and top with bacon.
Drizzle with honey, if desired.